Summary: How Paul spoke about the benefits of communion in the fellowship that it brought about.
April 8, 2004 1 Corinthians 10:16-17
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
One of the most unrecognized sins and probably the least exposed sin of our society has got to be our selfishness. It’s the way we’re raised to be - seclusive people. Instead of going to the movies, we can watch movies with surround sound in our basements. We have ATM’s and internet banking - eliminating the need for face to face tellers. We have electronic garage door openers so we can close the door before ever getting out of our garages - never having to say hi to a neighbor. Abductions and scams make us put security systems on our doors and even on our computers. We have to put caller ID on our phones to keep out the unwanted. The thing is that the more seclusive we become, the more self centered we become. The truth of the matter is that we don’t WANT to know our neighbors because as we live in the cocoon of our own little busy worlds, we don’t have the time to worry about them or care about them. We only have time to care about ourselves. This is wrong - it’s offensive to the God who said, “love your neighbor as yourself.” How can I really love a neighbor that I don’t want to know? How can I care for someone else when I barely take time to care for myself? Like Cain we say, “am I my brother’s keeper?” These excuses don’t fly. This is not the way God designed it. It’s not the way he wants it. God made us to serve our neighbor - not ignore him or her. He redeemed us to think beyond ourselves, not only about ourselves.
You may not realize it, but that’s what Holy Communion is all about. The word “communion” comes from the Greek word koinonia - which means “to partner with” or be “in fellowship” with. It’s used in Luke 5 to describe the fact that Peter and James and John were partners in the fishing business together. They worked side by side and joined in common tasks together. So when we take Communion - there’s a partnership that God wants to happen - that you may not even be aware of. Tonight is Maundy Thursday, the night that we celebrate Jesus’ institution of Holy Communion. So it would be good for us to review tonight what this Communion is all about as we hear Paul - a one time enemy turned ally of Christ -
Speaking the Common Truth
I. We are one with Christ
On the night Jesus was betrayed he shared some very intimate details as to what was going to happen to him that night. When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” 22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” (Mt 26:20-24) Jesus could have ignored the fact that one of them would betray Him. He could have decided that it would be better to keep a light mood - so they could enjoy the night without any deep conversations. Instead, He decided to reveal to them that one of their very own would betray Him to the death that He had so often foretold - which they had denied.
If you notice what happened, the disciples were very sad and began to each question the Lord - denying and yet inwardly wondering - “surely not I, Lord?” If you had a one in twelve chance of being the one who would betray your Lord - what would it make you want to do? Wouldn’t you at such a time want to take Jesus in your arms and cling all the tighter? Wouldn’t you indeed want to lay yourself at His feet - asking for the strength not to do such a thing? Wouldn’t you want to confirm with Christ that you were NOT the one who would do such a thing? That’s exactly the reason why Jesus revealed ahead of time that one of them would betray them. By revealing this Jesus was making them HUNGRY for His acceptance, strength and fellowship. It was at this point that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper - because that’s who the Lord’s Supper is for. Mary said - He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. (Lk 1:53) The Lord’s Supper, like all of God’s gifts, are for hungry people - people who are thirsting for a closer fellowship with Him - that want to COMMUNE with Him - get closer to Him.